36th Annual Conference:

American Jewry and Israel:

Intersections and Connections between Homelands and Diasporas


JUNE 29 - JULY 1, 2020  


Call for Papers

American Jewry and Israel: Intersections and Connections between Homelands and Diasporas

The Program Committee of the 36th Annual Conference of the Association for Israel Studies invites scholars conducting research on any aspect of Israel Studies to submit proposals for organized panels and individual papers. Of special interest are proposals relating to the conference theme: “American Jewry and Israel: Intersections and Connections between Homelands and Diasporas.” This year’s venue is Tulane University in historic New Orleans, known worldwide for its fabulous food, music and atmosphere. The conference coincides with the launch of Tulane’s Stuart and Suzanne Grant Center for the American Jewish Experience, which seeks to better integrate the study of American Jewry into that of world Jewry. 

In 1950, David Ben-Gurion and Jacob Blaustein, head of the American Jewish committee, met at the King David Hotel to clarify “some confusion and misunderstanding… as regards the relationship between Israel and the Jewish communities abroad, in particular that of the United States.” Ben-Gurion assured American Jews, who were concerned about charges of dual loyalty, that there was no expectation that all Jews would move to Israel and that American Jews had “no political allegiance to Israel.” For his part, Blaustein held up Israel as “a stronghold of democracy” that aligned with President Truman’s vision of the world and assured Ben-Gurion that American Jews could offer help and advice to Israel but would not attempt to interfere in their internal affairs.

Today, 70 years later, twenty-first century Israel and America have not only changed their once-conventional discourse on homeland and exile, they have also forged new kinds of relationships in all sectors of society.  This conference will seek to explore all facets of these relationships: How can we account for the changing relationship between American Jewry and Israel, where alarms repeatedly sound over ‘the divide’ and “distancing” between Israel and American Jewry? What in the Ben-Gurion-Blaustein pact has changed, and what has remained constant? How, historically, have the two largest Jewish communities in the world interacted with one another both before and since that agreement? How have world events and Jewish trends redefined this relationship?

Deadline for Submission of all proposals: January 15, 2020

  • Panel submissions and individual papers should be submitted using the online submission form at the AIS website.
  • Panel proposals should include information on the panel theme and on each individual paper. Proposals should not exceed 750 words.  We encourage cohesive panel submissions.
  • In constructing panels keep in mind the importance of gender and diversity in the AIS.
  • Individual paper proposals should not exceed 250 words.
  • All presenters will be required to register for the conference and be current AIS members in order to present and be listed on the conference program. Registration can be done directly at the AIS website.
  • Graduate students who have completed their course work are encouraged to submit their proposal and should provide the email of their advisor for approval.

Travel Grants

The AIS will provide a limited number of travel grants to help Graduate students and PhD holders without university position sponsoring their trip to Tulane.

  • All travel grant applications should be sent by email to Ilan Ben-Ami, AIS Treasurer, at: treasurer@aisisraelstudies.org.
  • Graduate students who wish to apply for travel grants should send a request along with a copy of their proposal and a letter from their advisor.
  • PhD holders without university travel support should send an abstract of the proposed paper and a current CV.
  • The travel grant application deadline is: January 15, 2020.

Program Committee

Conference Co-Chairs:

Michael Cohen and Brian Horowitz (Tulane University) 


Dan Rabinowitz (Tel Aviv University) & Judith L. Goldstein (Vassar College)


Sharon Ayalon (Cornell Tech) & Yehotal Shapira (Technion Israel Institute of Technology)

Arab-Israeli Conflict and Efforts at Cooperation

Galia Golan (IDC Herzliya) & Menna Abukhadra (University of Cambridge/Cairo University)

Arab Society in Israel

Faisal Azaiza (University of Haifa) & Ilana Kaufman (The Open University of Israel) 


Anat Ben-David (The Open University of Israel) & Yoram Peri (University of Maryland)


Niva Dolev (Kinneret Academic College) & Yuval Jobani (Tel Aviv University)

Entrepreneurship (social, business, environmental)

Harry Yuklea (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Film, Theater and Arts

Nina Spiegel (Portland State) & Yael Katzir (Beit Berl Academic College)

Gender Studies

Orna Sasson-Levy (Bar-Ilan University) & Sylvie Fogel Bijauoi (College of Management)

Hebrew Literature

Yael Dekel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) & Yael Halevi-Wise (McGill University)

Historical and Cultural Geography

Havatzelet Yahel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)


Meir Chazan (Tel Aviv University) & Orit Rozin (Tel Aviv University)

International Relations

Emanuel Adler (University of Toronto) & Joanna Dyduch (Jagiellonian University in Poland) 

Israel & Diaspora Relations

Gur Alroey (University of Haifa), Sara Hirschhorn (Northwestern University) & Zohar Segev (University of Haifa)


Mohammed Wattad (Zefat Academic College) & Pnina Lahav (Boston University)

Political Science

Ayelet Harel-Shalev (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) & Csaba Nikolenyi (Condordia University)

Public Administration and Public Policy 

Alon Tal (Tel Aviv University) & Lihi Lahat (Sapir College)

Religious Studies

Lilach Rosenberg Friedman (Bar-Ilan University) and Nechumi Yaffe (Princeton University)

Security Studies

Ofra Ben Ishai (The Open University of Israel) & Ron Hassner (UC Berkeley)


Aziza Khazzoom (Indiana University) & Gili Drori (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


Rachel Fish (Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism) & Johannes Becke (Hochschule Für Jüdische Studien, Heidelberg)

Mentorship Program

You're invited to join the AIS Mentorship Program!

We are thrilled to share an exciting new opportunity for AIS scholars to share their experience, expertise and talent with up and coming scholars who are eager to learn and gain new insights. 

AIS scholars are invited to volunteer as mentors to graduate students and junior scholars in the AIS. 

The mentors and mentees will schedule short meetings in the next AIS annual conference at Tulane University where they can discuss career advice, publishing/funding strategies and professional advancement.  


To get started, please follow the steps below:

1) Interested mentors: please reply back to us at: ais@aisisraelstudies.org.

2) Graduate students or junior scholars, please send us a short statement of interest including your field of research, terminal degree, current affiliation and contact details to: ais@aisisraelstudies.org.  

3) At the beginning of June, the AIS will distribute among the graduate students and junior scholars who signed up for the program a list of mentors and their contact details. The mentees may then contact the mentors to schedule a meeting.   

The mentors who have agreed to be contacted will do their best to accommodate a meeting depending on their schedule. 

All mentors and mentees must be current members of the AIS.

Emails should be sent by June 1st, 2020. 


Tulane University

June 29 - July 1, 2020


7031 Freret St.

New Orleans, LA 70118



About the Department of Jewish Studies

Tulane Jewish Studies began in the 1970s, offering a limited number of courses in Hebrew language and American Jewish literature. As the Soviet Jewry movement gained traction around the nation, Jewish Studies gained a more prominent place on campus, and its growth continued into the 1990s. The program was transformed in 2003 by a major gift from the Sizeler family, and in the ensuing decade, Tulane received significant gifts from generous donors and national foundations. We now feature some of the strongest enrollments in the nation, and in 2019, a major gift from Stuart and Suzanne Grant created the Grant Center for the American Jewish Experience.

Here at Tulane, we are positioned to achieve even greater heights.  We are already home to a strong community of Jewish fraternities and sororities, a thriving Hillel, and a popular Chabad Student Center. Within this conducive environment, Tulane’s Department of Jewish Studies has prided itself on the fact that our classes have high attendance among both Jewish and non-Jewish students. Our impact reaches well beyond campus, as we provide our students with a critical liberal arts education foundation, including the tools to be leaders in medicine, law, technology, business and other competitive fields.

Representing an interdisciplinary approach to thinking and learning, the field of Jewish Studies explores the evolution of Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish nationalism from biblical times to the present. Through the specific study of the Jewish people from multiple perspectives, we offer insight into the universality of the human experience. We provide tools for individuals, Jewish and non-Jewish, to ground contemporary issues within their historical contexts. We emphasize skills of communication, inquiry, critical thinking and writing, equipping our graduates with the skills to be competitive and successful in myriad careers.


Recent Conferences

"Israel at 70: Challenges and Opporutnities"

Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies
University of California, Berkeley

"A Century after Balfour: Vision and Reality"

Schusterman Center for Israel Studies
Brandeis University

"A Western or Eastern Nation: The Case of Israel"

Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi and Menachem Begin Heritage Center

"Sustainable Israel: A Changing Society in the 21st Century"

Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies
Concordia University

"Israel: Leadership & Critical Decisionss"

The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


The 2020 Conference Team:


Annual Meeting